deefstes,you are probably right
As you said...very difficult on pics alone to be sure
Just thought I'd give every birder a
because there are some simmilarities to the ones I mentioned
Hehe. The problem with terns are that there are similarities between any
of them. They're actually a very difficult group to get a handle on.
Perhaps another comment or two on these birds and the ones you mentioned might be useful:1. Marsh Terns:
There is a small group of terns known as the marsh terns or "Chlidonias" terns (Chlidonias being the genus name of the group). These terns are slightly different from the sea terns (Sterna) in that they are generally smaller, have very slight bills, broader wings, less forked tails and fairly noticeable different flight patterns and feeding habits. They are also, generally speaking, the only terns one would expect to find at inland localities (although Caspian Tern is seen at large inland water bodies fairly regularly and Gull-billed Tern, although being a rare vagrant is also seen on inland water bodies).
There are only three species of marsh tern, all of which occur in southern Africa. Those are the White-winged Tern, Whiskered Tern and Black Tern. The first two are fairly common throughout most of South Africa while the latter is rather uncommon. When you see a tern on an inland water body your first consideration should be either White-winged or Whiskered. They're not too difficult to tell apart but in non-breeding and juvenile plumage there can be some confusion.
I should perhaps just mention that, recently (2005) the Black-fronted Tern (Chlidonias albostriatus) has been classified as a Chlidonias where it was always considered Sterna so the Chlidonias group really has four members, not three. It's a New Zealand species though and not something we need to concern ourselves with too much. There is also talk that the Black-bellied Tern (Sterna acuticauda) and the White-cheeked Tern (Sterna repressa) might also be reclassified as Chlidonias. The latter is an extremely rare vagrant to southern Africa.2. Black-naped Tern:
Speaking of extremely rare vagrants, the Black-naped Tern has been recorded in South Africa only 9 times and each time on the KZN coast, never inland. It differs from Yolande's bird in a number of ways but most noticeably by having a very clean and neat black line through the eyes meeting on the nape, none of that speckling on the forehead, being overall a very pale bird with only a thin black leading edge to the wings.Here is a nice picture of some online
Of course, I know this by having read up on the bird, not ever having seen one.3. Gull-billed Tern:
About two years ago, if I remember correctly, there were a number of Gull-billed Tern sightings but it is still considered a rare vagrant. Like I said, they are also seen at inland water bodies but they'd differ from Yolande's second bird in having a much heavier (Gull-like) bill. Also, they have black legs, not red, but then Yolande's pictures doesn't really show much colour in the legs or the bill.Here's a picture of one
showing the heavy bill nicely.